Press Release
August 14, 2023

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERPELLATION OF SENATOR RISA HONTIVEROS ON SENATE BILL 2200 PROMOTING MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING IN BASIC EDUCATION

Just an interjection about this particular point yung human resources recalling the process that we were going through in 2017 until 2018 to pass this mental health law, I recall in the discussions precisely on the human resources there was an advocacy of Dr. RJ Naguit. He was then chair of Akbayan Youth and he was also then chair of the Youth for Mental Health Coalition isa po sa pinakaaktibong partners natin noon in passing the Mental Health Law. He also pointed out then what the good sponsor is saying now na kulang na kulang sa ngayon yung supply natin of guidance counselors and also of psychologists acutally all over the country let alone particularly in our basic education sector.

And yung isang point niya at that time Mr. President was perhaps the DepEd and even the CHED could consider calling on even psychometricians at the very least to assist the existing guidance counselors and school-based psychologists pang kumbaga pangcomplement sa human resources in the schools so perhaps the good sponsor could consider pag naipasa na itong bill and the executive is working on the implementing rules and regulations to reiterate what was expressed half a decade ago by the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, and they actually issued a call sa fellow youth and students nila at that time, who were taking up not just guidance counseling and psychology courses but also psychometrician courses at that point to heed the call for enough professionals in those allied health sciences to also serve the mental health needs of students in the schools in particular in this case basic education. Just for the record and for the consideration of the good sponsor.

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Binanggit din nila just now, yung mental health associate can refer the student or the potential patient to a mental health specialist and again paalala sa ating lahat in the mental health law which we passed in 2018 mention was also made of a referral system that school-based guidance counselors, et al, may as needed based on their diagnosis and with the agreement of the student and his or her parents refer the student to a mental health professional even off campus or in the universal healthcare system. So I really appreciate that in the bill reference is also made to that and lastly at this point the psychometrician which was advocated by Dr. RJ Naguit half a decade ago could also perform some of the functions mentioned by the good sponsor that could be carried out by the mental health associate including measurement because that's also one of the particular functions na kayang gawin ng psychometrician though he or she is not yet a full fledged guidance counselor or psychologist but may perform in support of those professionals.

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As the good sponsor said, the bill is addressing the whole ecosystem of the mental health system and just to recall what the mental health law provides that's the context in which the school-based mental health specialists and associates may refer their students or patients cause the mental health law was envisioned to provide the whole range of psychiatric, psychosocial, neurological and mental health services down to the ground to the grassroots and community level so it envisioned not just what we classically what we would call to mind, yung institution based services for example like that NCMH, but more so out patient services and even more so community based MH services. So as the good sponsor was saying, ideally the mental health programs, services and policies available in schools would be operating in the context of and could refer as needed, students and other academic sectors, other stakeholders in the schools to these other sections of the whole mental health system or ecosystem. So immediately beyond the schools at the community or grassroots level the community based mental health services.

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